More choices and more voices make a better democracy by Barbara Collura
The recent decision by the State Supreme Court to allow independent candidate Kellin Rowlands to remain on the ballot as a candidate for Bethlehem Town Board was a win for democracy and I was so disappointed to see the decision appealed by our County Board of Elections. New York’s ballot access and petitioning laws are notoriously difficult, some of the most difficult in the nation, and they serve as an impediment to running for office. In order to qualify for the ballot, independent candidates must collect signatures from a certain percentage of registered voters in the district. This can be a daunting task, especially for candidates who are not well-known or who do not have a lot of money, especially for attorney’s fees. This has a chilling effect for anyone other than an endorsed major party candidate to run for office.
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